Biscuits for Breakfast
I’ve always been a huge fan of biscuits. They’re so simple, yet such a delicious complement to everything from chicken and gravy, to strawberries and whipped cream. A perfect biscuit is buttery, light, and airy….bad ones (which MANY are) are more like dense buttery rocks that leave you feeling 500 lbs heavier. The key to success, as with many pastries, is to take a hands off approach. The airy texture of a proper biscuit is created (in part) by air pockets that form when butter melts as the biscuit bakes. If dough is mixed with your hands (rather than a pastry cutter or food processor) the warmth of your body heat causes the butter to soften or melt, which in turn causes these air pockets to be much smaller, or even non existent. BAM you have dense unpleasant biscuits.
As you can probably guess from my blog title, one of my favorite breakfasts is a simple buttermilk biscuit with marmalade or other jam. Last week I made this biscuit recipe and the results were beyond perfect. The whole thing took about 15 minutes to throw together, and the biscuits themselves were by far the lightest and the best I have ever made.
If you don’t have cake flour, you can substitute an extra cup of all-purpose flour and increase the buttermilk and yogurt by 2 tbsp
1C (5oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1C (4 oz) plain cake flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 in cubes
3/4 C cold buttermilk, or 3/4 C plus 2 tbsp plain yogurt
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 450
Place the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Whisk together or procuss with six 1-second pulses
If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips to quickly cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps. If using a food processor, remove the cover and distribute the butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Cover and process with twelve 1-second pulses
If making by hand, stir in the buttermilk with a rubber spatua or fork until the mixture forms a soft, slightly sticky ball. If using a food processor, remove the cover and pour the buttermilk evenly over the dough. Process until the dough gathers into moist clumps, about eight 1-second pulses.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and quickly form into a rough ball. Be careful not to overmix. Using a sharp knife or dough cutter, divide the dough in quarters and then cut each quarter into thirds. Quickly and gently shape each piece into a rough ball, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet (baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 hours)
Bake until the biscuit tops are light brown, 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately
Recipe from Baking Illustrated